ABC’s Scandalous New Show ‘Scoundrels’

By Fred Topel ABC’s hot summer drama, Scoundrels, was a scandal before it even finished the first episode. Neal McDonough was fired when he refused to film a sex scene with Virginia Madsen. Now David James Elliot plays that role and the rest of the cast couldn’t be happier.

“We had only just begun so thankfully that was figured out right away,” Madsen said. “Then when David arrived, it was like oh, that’s what we’ve been missing. There was really a feeling of completion when he arrived. The kids felt it and he came over from the airport.”

Elliott really did fill in at the last minute. The day before he was in the jungle on a peace mission. Seriously. “I was in the Amazon with my family in the jungle, living with a tribe at the time,” Elliott said. “That’s true because I work with a charity called Amazon Watch and we were afforded an opportunity to go down and really experience firsthand what these people are up against, how they live and the battles that they’re waging to try to save the Amazon and save the whale life. So we were down there having an amazing human experience. When I came back, it had all gone down and I got a call literally the day after I arrived saying, ‘Hey, listen, they would love you to come out and do this role.’ I knew the show because I had met on it before I went away. When I came back, the whole thing with Neal had gone down and I got offered the job.”

There are no hard feelings about McDonough either. It just worked out this way and Elliott seems the right guy for the job. “I know Neal,” Elliott continued. “Neal’s a wonderful actor and very nice guy but I had nothing to do with whatever went down there. I was just the guy that came in.”

Madsen and Elliott play husband and wife in a crime family. The first episode finds daddy going to jail, shaking things up. It sort of reflects the experience with the other actor in real life.

“What was kind of interesting is in the beginning of the show, dad goes to jail,” Madsen said. “So dad’s not around and we’re all kind of out of sorts without dad. So we kind of had that experience for real, waiting for our dad actor to arrive. When he did it was like fireworks.”

And Elliott has no problem with a love scene, so you’ll get to see that on the first episode of Scoundrels. “It gets pretty steamy,” Elliott said. “It’s immediately steamy because we open the first episode in a steamy moment, and we keep coming back to it, because that’s part of our thing. Her right brain is telling her get out of this, it’s crazy, you’ve got to get away from this guy but her whole soul and physical person is about [him], so she can’t tear herself away. I know that and I use it to my advantage. Master manipulator.”

Scoundrels airs for eight weeks in the summer. If the first episode hooks you, imagine how it escalates in seven more weeks. “It’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” Elliott said. “It’s crazy. It’s nuts and it just twists and turns in directions you would never even think. It’s a family that functions as a normal American family but they’re living through criminal enterprises. He has his son working with him. I’m kind of the head of the criminal empire. Virginia plays my wife, she runs the store where we fence a lot of the goods. Then an unfortunate incident happens in which I have to go away for a while, to jail a little longer than I’d hoped or anticipated. She decides she’s going to take the family straight. So that conflict is immediate and I’m trying to work my machinations from behind the steel doors.”

Keeping up with the antics of the Scoundrels keeps Madsen guessing too. “We shoot two episodes at a time which makes it super exciting. This has happened more than once where I get to the set and I’m like, ‘So wait. What day is this happening and then what happens in the scene right before? I’m not wearing the right clothes, okay.’ So I run back, because there’s usually like a whole closet jammed into my little double banger [trailer] depending, because we shoot so many scenes a day. So it’s really exciting.”

Check out Scoundrels this summer starting June 20 on ABC.

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  • June 10, 2010 | Permalink |

    I think Neal got the better deal now that he is in the Captain America movie.

  • June 10, 2010 | Permalink |

    Wow. What a snarky comment by Virginia Madsen. Perhaps all that botox has gone to her head and impaired her judgement. Kudos to Neal for never publicly saying anything about it but after reading that comment by Virginia, I’m so glad Neal got out of it. I would imagine dealing with such a vindictive personality for months on end would be torture. And good on Neal! Leaving some crappy ABC show and landing a huge role in CAPTAIN AMERICA!!! Go Neal – you are the winner here. Scoundrels won’t see it past the 8 episodes. It will just be one of those shows that Ms Madsen couldn’t turn into a hit.

  • June 10, 2010 | Permalink |

    I LOVE David James Elliott… Love him, love him, love him! I already told my boyfriend I’d drop him in a heartbeat for him! 😉 If only he would bat for the other team now. I look forward to seeing him on screen again but I can honestly say I could care less about Virginia Madsen. I’ve never met Neal McDonough but I absolutely adore him in Band of Brothers and after reading what a awesome family man he is, I admire him even more. Madsen making mean comments like that just to promote the show just goes to show what type of person she is. For David’s sake I hope it is a success but then again, I wouldn’t cry one tear if Virginia fails with this show.

  • June 10, 2010 | Permalink |

    Go Neal McDonough! Congrats on dodging that bullet man! I can’t think of anything worse than being stuck in New Mexico with Ms. Botox herself. Phew. Now you get to go hang out with Chris Evans and play superhero! Talking about moving upwards!!!

  • June 11, 2010 | Permalink |

    I read new articles about Neal’s career on fire. The man is not just getting the Capt.America deals but much more. Neal has class…Madsen is trash.

  • June 11, 2010 | Permalink |

    Who is Virginia Madsen? likely some 80’s has been. I saw the trailer and its not something I would watch with my family especially my kids. I didnt expect this coming from ABC as in Disney. McDonough got the better deal and he will move to better places.
    Remember his character Dum Dum is not just for the Capt.America movie but will lead up to The Avengers movie which is really HUGE with Downey Jr and Ed Norton. Wow.
    Steven Spielberg is rumored to wonna work again with McDonough as well.

  • June 11, 2010 | Permalink |

    Im disappointed Mr.Jag is doing this kind of show.I see him in something cool,dignified like CSI NY with Gary Sinise or fun clean stuff like the Office with Steve Carrell not a sleazy program. I wont be surprise if its a hit since there’s nothing on summertime and that Kate Gosselin show I read got lots of viewers. Goes to show audiences taste has gone downhill.
    Why not a Jag movie for Elliott? I was not a big fan of the show but it is good quality and he had real sparks with the hot Marine. Im betting Miss Madsen took it personal that Neal turned down the part but I dont blame him when she was all over Don Johnson before when they work together and also Billy Bob Thornton so I will not be surprise if she’s all over this Jag guy too and enjoying their steamy parts. She is old but acts and talks like Megan Fox. ABC ought to pitch a reality spinoff for her “Desperate Cougar”.

  • June 11, 2010 | Permalink |

    A little bitterness from the old gal Virginia there huh? I hope this show tanks.

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